Symptoms and Diagnosis of Infertility

by Dr. Deborah Smith

In many cases, the signs of infertility in both men and women are not revealed until a couple attempts to conceive a baby. Initially, erections, intercourse, and ejaculations will happen without difficulty. To the naked eye, factors such as the quantity and quality of the semen may appear normal.

Infertility DoctorsStatistically the problem in about one in every five infertile couples lies with the male partner. Therefore, infertility in the woman is diagnosed only after testing of both partners and after the problems are identified with the man.

Infertility Symptoms in Men

Male infertility may arise as a result of problems in the sperm production or in the transportation process. These symptoms may be unclear in men for some time and therefore can go unnoticed until they try to have a baby. Symptoms however include:

  • Erectile problems.
  • Ejaculation problems, which may be as a result of a blocked sperm transport system.
  • Painful or swollen testicles, which may be a result of abnormal sperm production process in the testes.
  • Small, firm testicles.
  • Variation in sex drive due to hormonal abnormalities, which causes wrong messages to be sent to the respective reproductive organs.
  • Hair growth changes.

Infertility Symptoms in Women

Some female infertility symptoms can easily be noticed, whilst in other cases, the cause may not be obvious or even visible. There is a wide range of the causes of infertility, which include physical as well as emotional factors. Some of the noticeable symptoms in women include:

  • Lack of pregnancy – The most common and noticeable of the symptoms is not being able to conceive, even after having regular intercourse for a period of 6 -12 months.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle and ovulation
  • Variations in bleeding – Which may become lighter or heavier than normal.
  • Inconsistent number of days between each period
  • No menstruation at all or sudden termination of menstruation
  • Painful periods, sometimes accompanied with back and pelvic pains or cramping
  • Hormone problems – Which result in changes such as skin appearance,  sex drive and desire, hair loss, weight gain, growth of dark hair on lips, chin, and chest, discharge of milky white fluid from the nipples when not breastfeeding, and painful intercourse.

Diagnosis for Men

Tests and imaging for male infertility may be carried out in order to determine the cause or nature of the problem. These include:

  • Blood or urine tests to check the level of hormones that control sperm production.
  • Physical examination of testes and penis.
  • Semen analysis to determine the sperm count, viscosity, shape, motility, swimming speed. and healthiness of sperm.
  • Testicular biopsy, which is rarely done.
  • Male genital ultrasound.

Diagnosis for Women

Testing and imaging for women involves a complete check on medical history, as well as physical examinations. Some of the tests done include:

  • Blood testing to determine hormone levels such as serum progesterone.Denver fertility clinic
  • Measuring basal body temperature each morning in order to determine whether ovulation is actually taking place. An increase in temperature of 0.4 to 1.0 Fahrenheit is normally a sign of ovulation.
  • Thyroid functionality test.
  • The progestin challenge test is used when the woman has sporadic or absent ovulation.
  • FSH and clomid test.
  • Luteinizing hormone urine test which helps predict ovulation hence assists in the timing of intercourse.
  • Observing the nature of the cervical mucus during the menstrual cycle in order to determine the ovulatory phase.
  • Post coital test to determine the interaction of sperm and cervical mucus, an analysis which is carried out 2 – 8 hours after a couple has had intercourse.
  • Take a biopsy of the woman’s endometrium, which is the uterine lining.
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is an x-ray procedure which is carried out in order to determine the route of the sperm from the cervix to the uterus.
  • Pelvic ultrasound helps determine presence of cysts.
  • Laparoscopy allows visual monitoring of the pelvic cavity.

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